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How can I be sure my workplace is safe during COVID?

This question is from a series of questions and answers on Worker Rights and Strategies for Staying Safe During COVID-19 created by National COSH to support workers during the pandemic.

HOW CAN I BE SURE MY WORKPLACE IS SAFE DURING COVID?

Questions to determine if the workplace is safe include:

  • Is there a comprehensive written plan to evaluate, eliminate or reduce worker exposure to infectious disease hazards that is available to workers for review?
  • Are workers involved in the development and implementation of a COVID-19 protection plan?
  • Has the employer evaluated all the jobs to determine the risk level for exposure to COVID-19?
  • Has the employer trained and provided necessary information to workers related to the hazards and prevention methods for COVID-19?
  • Has the employer implemented adequate protective measures, such as physical distancing, barriers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for all workers?
  • Is there a process to improve the protective measures currently in place? 
  • Is there a health and safety committee with at least equal worker representation  (chosen by workers, not management) that can follow-up on worker complaints/suggestions?
  • Are workers entitled to benefits that are adequate to increase the likelihood that they will stay at home if they have symptoms? These may include but are not limited to paid sick time; employer-paid testing and treatment, elimination of attendance incentive programs.)

Note: If you answered No to any of these questions, you should discuss these issues with your co-workers and come up with a plan to document problems and convey them to management. These deficiencies should also be used to talk with co-workers about improvements needed in your workplace.

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